It’s started. And once it started, it’s hard to stop. Left-leaning commentators have started to complain in droves about President Obama's leadership. They’re nearly despondent. Many of them think he's not governed enough from the left, while others complain that he's just not “communicating” well enough (for these folks, it’s never about his policies), and that he's caving to the right too much. One columnist even wrote that Mr. Obama could be a one-term president, and that "Maybe Obama was not even the person he was waiting for.” Yowser…and these are his supporters!
It’s tempting for some conservatives to think this is the beginning of the end for the president, and that their liberal counterparts finally see what they’ve been saying all along – that this presidency is a free-falling failure.
But I’m wary -- I’ve seen this before. I suspect that while some of the criticism of the president is sincere, a lot of it is just a set up as these same commentators gear up to help Mr. Obama make an “incredible comeback” next year. They're getting in position to help him come back from his current dismal approval numbers and a more than stubborn unemployment rate. You see, the more they question him today, the stronger their credibility will be when things improve in a year, even marginally.
So here’s a prediction about the kinds of columns you’ll be reading come September 2012, when they realize it’s all on the line:
"I have a confession to make. For a time, I was a doubter. I was dismayed at the way Mr. Obama was handling his presidency. I felt he'd lost his nerve, run out of ideas, and rolled over too often for the Tea Party goons. The summer of 2011 was even worse than the previous summers of 2009 and 2010. It seemed that even the president had given up all hope of change and fled to the Vineyard. He was snippy. He seemed small. For a time, I believed that he would lose to any of the Republican candidates - something that would surely guarantee our country's demise.
“Then something happened. The president gave a speech to a Joint Session of Congress, and he blew away our low expectations. We started to feel that feeling again - you know, the one we all shared with Chris Matthews but turned too red to describe in public? He masterfully laid out his jobs plan, with concrete ideas and soaring rhetoric to remind us of the Obama we all had come to love. The result? Our economy is on the upswing, our troops are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and hundreds of thousands of workers who were unemployed now have certainty in their new government jobs. Plus the 40 million Americans, who used to lose sleep over their health coverage, won't have to worry that it will be repealed.
“I believe that we doubters helped send a serious wake up call to the president. It's not easy to admit you're wrong, face your critics, and double down on an idealistic agenda. But he did - and now I, along with millions of other Americans, will be proud to return this historic president to a second term. Our futures -- indeed the future of the world -- depends on it. So get out the vote!”
Mark my words -- this will happen.
So, please, do me a favor and irritate those people who ask you not to print their e-mails – keep a hard copy of this column on hand so that next year we can nod together and say, yep, we called it. Sadly…and predictably.